Having grown up with a mother and aunts who baked everything from scratch, I rarely use a cake mix. But it is a timesaver especially for last minute baking. Just say it’s the night before the church bake sale, or your child’s birthday celebration at school or a backyard barbeque. You could pick up cupcakes at the grocery store or one of the pricey local cupcake shops. Don’t fret … buy a cake mix and leave the canned frosting on the grocer’s shelf. Simply add three ingredients to the cake mix, pour the batter into cute cupcake liners and bake.

Now, use the time you saved to whip up a delicious frosting. This Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting will make your cupcakes taste like homemade. You will not be able to resist licking the spoon but save some frosting for the cupcakes! Cream cheese makes this a rich frosting and a smidge of coffee enhances the chocolate taste.

Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake Mix
Add eggs, water and corn oil
Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes.

Hint: Baking tips suggest swapping out two ingredients to improve the taste of a box cake.
Instead of water use milk and instead of oil use melted butter.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup Butter (1 stick), softened
8 oz Cream Cheese, chilled
1 tsp Vanilla
½ cup Unsweetened Cocoa
¼ tsp Salt
4 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1½ tsp Coffee
1 - 2 tbsp Heavy Cream
Chocolate Sprinkles (optional)

Blend Butter and Cream Cheese until creamy. Add Vanilla.
Add Cocoa, Salt and one cup of Confectioner’s Sugar. Mix well.
Gradually add remaining Confectioner’s Sugar alternating with Coffee and Heavy Cream
[This is a slight variation of Glory’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting recipe at Glorious Treats]

For baking tips on how to make perfect cupcakes, visit Glory at Glorious Treats.




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School is out for summer and that includes the little ones in nursery school. The summer began by saying goodbye to Ms. Pam and nursery school pals for my grand-nephew and little brother of the Girl Scout Daisy, mentioned in an earlier post. The daily routine consisted of a morning prayer, circle time, storybook time, morning nap and lunch bunch playground fun on the swings and sandbox. The two years were packed with lots of fun activities for the two, three and four-year-old toddlers. There were parties for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and year-end. Birthday celebrations were frequent and the best part was the sweet goodies of cupcakes and cookies. A favorite day was when the kids dressed up and performed as circus animals and clowns. There was even a class pet, Rosa ... the fish. The little tykes created dozens of artwork on display on their family refrigerators, and celebrated special holidays with their parents like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They put on a Mother’s Day show for their Moms and presented them with roses and handmade cards. Not to leave out the Dads, there was a special Father’s Day morning coffee klatch with donuts, and they gifted drink cozies made with construction paper and glue. On the last day of school, the kiddies cleared out their cubbies and took home their name flags, their first project back in September. Before heading off to Pre-K in the Fall, Ms. Pam has organized several fun summer camps.  

Two years of school down and too many more to count for these future leaders, who learned about social interaction with peers, respect for their teacher who they loved and music appreciation from Mr. Chip’s monthly visits. These snow cone cookies were just one of the goodies, edible and otherwise, handed out at the year-end party.

Snow Cone Cookies
Ice Cream Cone Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Turquoise Blue with AmeriColor Sky Blue
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Meringue Powder
Purple, Green and Orange Sanding Sugar

Use the Ice Cream Cookie cutter and trim the edges of cookie.
Outline bottom of cookie with #2 tip in white icing. 
Flood bottom of cookie with white icing.

Pipe dots in blue icing.
Pull with toothpick to create swirl design.
Outline and flood top of cookie with #2 tip in white icing. Let dry overnight.

Mix 1 tsp meringue powder and 1½ tsp water. Stir until smooth.

 Using a paintbrush apply to top of cookie.
Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Gently shake off excess.

Let dry 45 minutes.




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You know that ‘go to’ thing? The one that is tried and true that you can count on every time? It is the appetizer that is oh so good; that main dish you serve at dinner parties that never fails, tastes great and everyone likes; and that scrumptious dessert you have made dozens of times that your guests rave about. It is comforting to know there are things we can rely on. That is how I feel about this simple cookie design using the blossom cutter. It is easy and efficient and looks good in any color.

I had a request to make cookies for the Girl Scout Daisies and soon-to-be Brownies. Being a bit short on time, this had to be the design. Little girls love polka dots and the teal / lavender color combo is popular among the young set. These cookies were for the last gathering of the Daisies after two years, little girls who entered the first level of Girls Scouts as Daisies in Kindergarten at age 5, and now at age 7 are rising second graders. They enjoyed fun outings like visiting a firehouse, the ballet, yoga, ice skating and learned money management when shopping the school’s Christmas bazaar. They also sent handwritten letters to President Obama to save the endangered sea turtles. Now it is time to trade in their blue vests and daisy petal badges and become Brownies, where they will experience new adventures. Somehow I think my next gig may be for Fudge Walnut Brownies or Cheesecake Brownies.

Blossom Cookies
Blossom Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted with AmeriColor Teal
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Lavender with AmeriColor Electric Purple
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2

Outline cookie with #2 tip in teal icing.

Flood cookie with teal icing.

Pipe dots with lavender flood icing on each petal.

Pipe dots with lavender flood icing in and around the middle of cookie.

Let dry overnight.





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